I have something embarrassing to admit.
This month is nearly over (I wrote this at the end of March), and I forgot to do a post for the Language Learning Reading Challenge. I'll make sure to make up for it with two of my posts being posts for the challenge next month.
In general I have got to hold myself more accountable as a blogger and I want YOU as my audience to hold me more accountable as well. I blog rather haphazardly although I am seeking to commit to a schedule of two to three posts a month at the moment, one per week. I know I need to proofread more. I need to condense my points and be more concise as a blogger. Et cetera.
So what does this have to do with language learning?
I have to emphasize that just like with blogging, with language learning comes dedication and keeping yourself accountable.
We all have our triumphs and our struggles in keeping our own accountability, but that's completely fine as long as we keep holding ourselves accountable and having a community that keeps us accountable.
It wasn't easy for me to hold myself accountable as a person before language learning changed my life, and even then I was not great at language learning when I started with Latin. The classroom structure gave me an accountability system to work on my homework and follow the structure textbooks guided me through to figure out how the language works. However the first times I attempted to learn German and Mandarin, I did not become fluent through classroom methods had a good experience in language classrooms, though I am currently working on my German in an intensive self-study to become a fluent speaker in the high intermediate level by December. When I began self-studying languages with Spanish, even though I tried several out-of-classroom attempts before with Japanese, Arabic, French, and Italian, I did not succeed because I had no plan of action and no strategy and thus I didn't get very far in any of them. In the case of Spanish I was super motivated to learn it because I had a lot of native Spanish speakers surrounding me so it was very easy to just get out there and practice, even though at first I had no idea how to learn a language on my own.
I succeeded with Spanish because:
1. I figured out why I wanted to learn the language
2. I set a plan of action to learn it
3. I got a support group (Spanish conversation group) to help me
4. I wrote my learning process in a journal
Ever since that first Spanish learning experience, I became increasingly confident in my abilities in learning languages and applied what I learned to several other languages like Portuguese, German, Russian, French, Hindi, and Mandarin Chinese. I keep applying this set of four steps to every language I learn. Here are several accountability questions I want you to ask yourself for your language learning and to make this process easier for you.
1. Why am I learning X language? What do I see myself doing with this language? What excites me the most about the language I'm learning?
2. What's my learning strategy for my language? Do I have a clearly defined strategy to learn this language?
3. How much time do I spend with this language? If I'm studying it in a class, how much time do I dedicate to it inside and outside of the classroom? Do I read and write in this language regularly? Do I speak this language with people or myself regularly? Do I listen to this language regularly?
4. Do I have language tutors, teachers, or conversation partners I regularly work with to help me learn this language?
5. Do I have an accountability partner or language coach to help ground me in my progress?
6. How do I deal with ups and downs in motivation and passion for the language I'm learning? Do I feel this language is too hard? Do I procrastinate in learning this language? Do I get frustrated and if I do how often? What can I do to reduce or eliminate this frustration?
7. Am I learning this language at a pace that I feel is comfortable for me? Am I going too fast or too slow?
What practices do you take to make yourselves more accountable in language learning and in life? Are you involved in any kind of accountability groups? If you're not accountable with yourself, let me know why and Make sure to let me know!
Enhance Your Voyage, Learn A Language!